Tut Underwood

Literary Classic "Frankenstein" Turns 200

By Tut Underwood

An illustration from the frontispiece of the 1831 edition, Colburn and Bentley, London 1831.

Halloween brings out the ghoul and monster in both kids and adults, and a perennial favorite is Mary Shelley's ground-breaking character, Frankenstein.  Acknowledged as the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein has hit another milestone this year: first published in 1818, it turns 200, and has enjoyed popularity virtually from the moment of its first printing.  University of South Carolina English professor and Shelley expert Paula Feldman said the story speaks to the mysterious fears of our nature, and thus has remained popular through the centuries.  She revealed that the inspiration

Rocket, Sand Sculpture part of State Fair Traditions

By Tut Underwood

Near the beginning, a dinosaur begins to emerge from a frame packed with sand.

October brings many things to South Carolina - more football, turning leaves, cooler temps (we hope!).  And one of the fall's most anticipated events is the South Carolina State Fair.  Long-time fairgoers have established many traditions they associate with the fair, but "meeting at the rocket" must be at the top of nearly everyone's list.  The rocket, according to fair General Manager Nancy Smith, is actually a long-range intermediate range ballistic missle built in the 1960s and designed by legendary rocket engineer Wehrner von Braun.  It was named Columbia, and was eventually donated to

SCETV to Premier "By the River" Thursday, Sept. 13

By Tut Underwood

Holly Bounds Jackson and Dr. Caroline Saywer

South Carolina is blessed with gifted writers. To celebrate this gift, a new program, By the River, premieres on ETV Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Produced by ETV and USC-Beaufort, the show will feature in-depth conversations with Palmetto State authors and poets set against the backdrop of the Beaufort River. 

Millenials, Workplace Adjusting to Each Other

By Tut Underwood


As Baby Boomers retire, their children, the Millennial generation, are coming into the workplace, behind the in-between Generation X.  University of South Carolina Sociology Professor Rob Ployhart says millennials differ from their predecessors in some key ways:  they are the first generation to grow up completely in the digital age, and they expect the companies they work for to be technologically savvy.  Certain ideas about millennials picture them as spoiled, self-obsessed techno-nerds that don’t want to work normal hours and need playtime at work, as evidenced by giant tech companies li

South Carolina Offers More Than 400 License Tags

By Tut Underwood

License plate design with MZWendy

Most, if not all, states offer a variety of license tags for automobiles. South Carolina offers more than 400, many to support causes or organizations, from colleges to gold star families, or wildlife and habitats, from trees to turkeys and elk. Some are offered out of support and respect, such as veterans or POWs. Some are more whimsical features of South Carolina culture, like the shag dance, or even Parrotheads, the fanatical followers of Jimmy Buffett.

National Fried Chicken Day? Why Do So Many Love this Southern Delicacy

By Tut Underwood


Friday was a special day for lovers of the Southern diet: National Fried Chicken Day!

Bernie Shealy, owner of Bernie's Chicken in Columbia, says he thinks people love fried chicken because it's comfort food.  

Over at Brookland Baptist Church, known for its weekday buffets that always include its famous fried chicken, Marketing and Public Relations Manager Marnie Robinson believes the crunch of good fried chicken is what makes people say “wow” when they bite into good chicken. 

It’s the crust that gives chicken that crunch, says Shealy.

Electric Cars Making Gradual Inroads

By Tut Underwood

An electric car

Traffic can be pretty noisy, but one component of the nation’s traffic is growing quietly.  The component is the electric car.  Sold by Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla and other makers, Nissan alone has sold a quarter-million electric vehicles since 2011.    Mac Martin, who sells the electric Leaf model by Nissan, says it’s so quiet the manufacturer actually installed a speaker to project artificial speed-up and slow-down noises so that pedestrians will  be aware of their presence. 

Snakebites May Be On the Rise in South Carolina

By Tut Underwood

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is found in South Carolina, along with other venomous species.

With the coming of warm weather, more people are getting outdoors.  It’s a great idea – unless you’re bitten by a snake.  The number of snakebite calls to the Palmetto Poison Center has increased the past two years, to about 200 per year.  It’s probably not because more snakes are out there, but more emergency room doctors are calling the center for advice, because they don’t see that many snakebites, says center Director Dr. Jill Michels.